Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday lauded a prospective accord with Lebanon that would end a decade-plus-long dispute over natural gas-rich waters off the countries’ coastlines.

“This is a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security, inject billions into Israel’s economy, and ensure the stability of our northern border,” Lapid said in a statement, adding that the draft agreement meets the Jewish state’s security and economic requirements.

Lapid will convene the Security Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss and perhaps approve the U.S.-mediated proposal. This will be followed by a special meeting of the coalition before the terms of the deal are presented to the full parliament.

Lapid’s comments come after Jerusalem and Beirut gave preliminary approval to the accord.
“All our demands were met; the changes that we asked for were corrected. We protected Israel’s security interests and are on our way to a historic agreement,” Israeli National Security Council chief and lead negotiator Eyal Hulata said in a statement earlier Tuesday.

Lapid last week rejected “amendments” demanded by Beirut to what was meant to be a final draft of the proposal.

The accord will reportedly draw a border between the two countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) based on a boundary known as Line 23, and award a disputed area of around 840 square kilometers (324 square miles) to Lebanon while recognizing Israel’s claim to the Karish gas field and to royalties from the section of the Qana field that extends into the Jewish state’s EEZ.

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Karine Elharrar on Tuesday told Army Radio that a signing date for the prospective accord has not been set yet.


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